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19 Sep, 2017 16:53

Faked Grenfell victims likely inflated suspected death toll – Met Police

Faked Grenfell victims likely inflated suspected death toll – Met Police

The final death toll of the Grenfell tower block fire may not be as high first thought, with the Metropolitan Police saying that a number of missing person statements have turned out to be either fraudulent or mistaken.

So far 60 victims have been identified following the devastating blaze at the North Kensington high-rise apartments on June 14.

READ MORE: Grenfell fire: 1st public inquiry hearing opens

The Metropolitan Police probe into the blaze is the biggest ongoing investigation outside of the UK’s counter-terrorism operations, with fingertip searches of the destroyed apartment block still underway.

It’s feared that as many as 80 people could have perished in the fire that gutted the majority of the 24-storey building in London. However, the Metropolitan Police now believe the estimated death toll could fall due to the discovery of eight fraudulent missing person reports.

“We do now think the final figure of those who died may not be as high as 80 but we don’t know exactly at this stage,” said Detective Chief Superintendent Fiona McCormack, during a briefing Tuesday.

“We have analyzed the thousands of calls received after the fire to confirm and eliminate missing people as well as looking at CCTV from the foyer [which] shows us clearly some 240 people who escaped the fire.

“Some of those missing person reports were mistaken and a small number were fraudulent. The process is ongoing but we now have a better idea of figures.”

Two people have officially been charged in connection with trying to benefit financially from the tragedy through fraudulent statements.

It’s also thought that, despite 24-hour security at the abandoned tower, four properties may have been looted by opportunist thieves.

“I can’t tell you how personally devastating these reports of thefts are, for the victims, for me and everyone involved in the investigation who is working so hard,” McCormack said.

“We have one confirmed theft and are looking at three more allegations and we will thoroughly investigate.”

She said security around the building had been reviewed and changes put in place in response to the reports.